The lead soldier is the clearest to make out; his long legs taper from narrow hips and a boxy, solid chest. He is the first man I have seen in person
The lead soldier is the clearest to make out; his long legs taper from narrow hips and a boxy, solid chest. He is the first man I have seen in person. My eyes widen to take him in. He is more fascinating than the chapel murals of the sky-god, Anu, and his son, Enlil, the fire-god.
^This is on the third page; the first time the MC meets the guy who - surprise! - will become the love interest.
Every now and then, I like to take a break from my TBR. I'll either pick up a classic I've always been meaning to read, or I'll check out what's hot right now among my GR friends. So when I kept seeing The Hundredth Queen in my feed and I was in the mood for some light fantasy, I decided to give it a shot. But I fail to understand the popularity of such a cliche, derivative fantasy novel.
Maybe there was a time, however many years ago, when it was somewhat interesting to write a fantasy with little world-building, a plain, boring protagonist who everyone else thinks is special, instalove, beautiful mean girls, and a central conflict that doesn't really make sense... maybe there was that time, but I really thought it was long gone.
In this book, a plain and unremarkable orphan called Kalinda has grown up in the Sisterhood - a religious group that grooms girls to be servants, courtesans, or, if they're lucky, wives to powerful men. We are repeatedly told how unattractive and bad at fighting Kalinda is, but in the first few chapters alone, we see her defeat a strong opponent and be called "beautiful" by several others.
The evil and vindictive girls are, of course, stunning (and aware of it) in comparison to Kalinda who says she's plain but is somehow believed to be special by everyone else:
“Natesa and Sarita flaunt their bodies, unrushed to get dressed. They are replicas of the goddess Ki, petite and round, soft yet firm, fit yet feminine. So unlike my gangly, angled shape.”
The whole plot of the book is about women competing against one another for men's affections, among other things. When Kalinda is chosen to be Rajah Tarek's 100th wife, she soon realises that she must compete with the other wives in a rank tournament. This is a series of fights where wives can challenge one another for their rank and, hopefully, gain more power.
I found this part really poorly-explained. The reasoning behind it seemed weak, and the wives didn't seem to have much to gain from competing in potentially fatal battles. It was just another thing in this book that made it seem like it needed some tighter editing. Everything from reasons that don't quite add up, to weird sentences that shouldn't have made it to print:
Jaya frowns so hard that a crane could roost on her lower lip.
Add to this a romance set up with instalove, and it just wasn't an impressive read. There was absolutely no chemistry between Kalinda and Deven because there was no gradual build to their relationship - no banter, no tension, nothing to keep me excited. They are obsessed with one another from the very beginning. And while you could maybe explain away Kalinda's obsession with the fact that she's grown up in the Sisterhood and never seen men before - what's his excuse?
Maybe I'll just stick to my regular TBR for a while.